William W. “Bill” George, has been named chairman of the Global Center for Leadership & Business Ethics, an independent body established by KPMG.
As chairman of the Global Center, George will direct The Laureate Award & Medal Series, which will honor individuals or institutions that are committed to excellence in business ethics and leadership. The processes, governance and nomination guidelines of The Laureate Award and Medal Series are modeled on the Nobel Prizes and the principles and guidelines of the Nobel Foundation and the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
The Laureate Award will honor a leader who best embodies the qualities of insight, ethics and courage, which are key attributes of leadership.
In addition, individual medals will be awarded by the Global Center in Leadership, Corporate Governance, Reporting & Disclosure, Social Responsibility and Education.
“I have long believed that the business world needs responsible leadership. We need people of the highest integrity, who are committed to building enduring organizations that serve their stakeholders and who recognize the importance of service to society,” said Bill George. “The Global Center’s mission is to honor those who serve as beacons of responsible business practice.”
The Global Center will be issuing an international call for nominations for The Laureate Award & Medal Series to senior corporate executives and audit committee chairs, business school deans and academic leaders, professional associations, members of Congress, regulatory agencies, and economists, he said. Candidate nominations will be due to the Center by September 24, 2004.
“True leaders are those who can create long-term value in our corporations and create great jobs and great products. It is our intention to bring long deserved recognition to these leaders and identify best practices that the business world can benchmark against and incorporate into their business models,” George said.
“Bill George is an outstanding leader who is bringing a wealth of experience in leadership and the pursuit of excellence to his vision for the Global Center,” said Mike Rake, chairman, KPMG International, which established the independent Global Center last month. “We are confident that under his leadership, the Global Center’s Laureate Award & Medal Series will inspire others to emulate the standards and principles demonstrated by those individuals and organizations who are honored in this global initiative.”
“The appointment of Bill George as chairman of the Global Center is an important step in the full realization of the Global Initiative on Leadership and Business Ethics,” said Gene O’Kelly, chairman and chief executive of KPMG LLP, the U.S. member firm. “The establishment of the Global Center and the institution of The Laureate Award & Medal Series will demonstrate our strongly held belief that individuals and businesses should strive to contribute to the well-being of their communities.”
Award winners will be determined in November, with presentation of the awards during the same week in December when Nobel Prizes are given.
“The Laureate Award and Medal Series is intended to recognize authentic leaders, people of the highest integrity who have a deep sense of purpose,” said George. “Shareholders, regulators, elected officials, and everyone else who has a stake in the future of the capital markets need to see that we have strong leadership guiding many business enterprises today – and these are the leaders we want to recognize through these awards.”
Bill George was chief executive officer of Medtronic, Inc., a leading medical technology company, from 1991 to 2001, and its chairman from 1996 until 2002, when he retired. He joined Medtronic in 1989 as president and chief operating officer. He is currently a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School. He serves on the boards of Goldman Sachs, Target Corp., and Novartis AG. In addition, he is affiliated with certain non-profit organizations, serving as a member of the Board of Dean’s Advisors of the Harvard Business School and as a member of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and the National Association of Corporate Directors. His best-selling book, Authentic Leadership: Rediscovering the Secrets to Creating Lasting Value, was published in 2003.